The 2016 Olympic Sports Ranking

Twitter avatars of the most followed Olympic Sports Organisations

To say that social media is a challenge for the international sports world in general is an understatement.

On the one hand, the explosion of social networks and livestreaming apps has given the Olympic Movement headaches in an environment traditionally dominated by official sponsors and exclusive host broadcasters. On the other hand, social media platforms have become indispensable communication channels for the Olympic Movement including international sports federations.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recorded more than 5 billion social media impressions and now counts 50 million followers across all of its social media channels. The IOC is active on the key social media platforms in eight languages and the 35 International Olympic Summer and Winter Sports Federations also all have an active presence on these platforms. While international sports federations have been using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube primarily to engage with their fans and reach new audiences for their disciplines, their engagement on social media also has a commercial dimension as it is one measure that is used by the IOC when it comes to allocate Olympic funds to each sport.

First tweet mentioning the Olympics on December 7, 2006

Incidentally, the Olympic Games were first mentioned on Twitter a decade ago, on December 7, 2006 when social media consultant Kris Krüg (@kk on Twitter) was “talking to the Vancouver Olympic Committee about the internets.” The #Olympic hashtag appeared a year later in a Twitter discussion about the #Beijing #Olympics.

Burson-Marsteller and TSE Consulting have analysed the social media footprint of the IOC and its 35 international sports federations, as well as of their presidents and leading executives. This includes 62 institutional Twitter accounts, 50 Facebook pages, 40 Instagram accounts and 43 YouTube channels, as well as 14 personal Twitter accounts of the heads of international sports federations. The analysis, conducted in November 2016, shows which sports have the largest social media fan base, namely football and basketball, as well as those sports which have a small fan base, but enjoy a strong social media presence, namely judo, triathlon and table tennis.

Click here to read the entire Olympic Sports Ranking 2016